On the evening of July 11 last year, like millions of football fans around the world, residents of Kampala, Uganda, gathered in their homes and at restaurants, pubs and parks across the city to watch the finals of the FIFA World Cup being broadcast from South Africa. The joyous atmosphere was shattered, however, by two bomb blasts that left 76 people dead and some 100 more injured.
While most of the victims were Ugandans, other casualties included Ethiopians, Eritreans, Indians, American aid workers and a lay missionary from Ireland. Al Shabaab, an insurgent group fighting to overthrow the Transitional Federal Government in neighboring Somalia, claimed credit for the suicide attack, taking its terror campaign beyond that country's borders to strike a country that has supported efforts to stabilize Somalia.
In the weeks that followed, Ugandan authorities detained several people believed connected to the attack. In part because a U.S. citizen was killed in the bombings, the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation sent a team to Kampala to assist in the investigation. Charges have been dropped against many of those held in the case. Twelve subjects will face trial beginning September 19, and two men have already pleaded guilty to participating in planning the attacks.
As a friend and partner to Uganda, the United States supports Uganda's effort to bring to justice those responsible for the bombings. We expect the upcoming July 2010 bombing trial will be conducted in a fair and transparent manner in accordance with international law and the principle of due process.